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life sciences Accomplishments

Feb 15, 2018
Jacklyn Newsome (Life Sciences) successfully defended her master's thesis in the Schiller Laboratory of Applied Bioinformatics in December. She worked on personalized diets and a new single-cell technology called the GigaAssay. Both have been licensed commercially.  

Feb 8, 2018
Ai-Sun "Kelly" Tseng (Life Sciences) and members of the Tseng laboratory recently published a research article titled "A Model for Investigating Developmental Eye Repair in Xenopus" in the journal Experimental Eye Research. This study showed the unexpected finding that frog embryos can fully regrow their eyes after injury. The authors also identified a method to control eye regrowth. Further studies of this model can lead to new strategies for eye repair and regeneration. This study was performed by UNLV students. Ph.D. student Cindy X. Kha is supported by a Top Tier Doctoral Dissertation Grant. For this work, she also won a first-place award for science poster presentation at the recent GPSA research forum. Philip Son (currently attending the UNLV Dental School) was supported in part by a National Science Foundation EPSCoR undergraduate research fellowship and an AANAPISI undergraduate research fellowship . The Tseng lab seeks to identify the mechanisms that enable animals to regrow organs and tissues with the goal of applying this knowledge toward developing regenerative therapeutics.

Jan 24, 2018
Jenifer Utz (Life Sciences) has been awarded $649,407 from the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education for a project titled "Developing the Skill and Will to Succeed in STEM." Katie Rafferty, Christy Strong, Donald Price (all Life Sciences), and Matt Bernacki (Educational Psychology and Higher Education) are Co-PIs.  The new program provides three years of scholarship support to a total of 25 academically talented undergraduate biology majors with documented financial need. A primary goal is to diversify and increase the number of students entering STEM professions. In addition to scholarship support, a number of curricular and co-curricular enhancements will be put into effect to increase achievement and career readiness of program participants. The introductory biology lecture series will be enriched by inclusion of active learning experiences that will promote student engagement and persistence for all biology majors. A prediction model that analyzes student use of digital learning resources also will be incorporated into the introductory courses. This model will facilitate early identification of students at risk to earn poor course grades, allowing redirection toward more effective learning strategies. Scholarship recipients will attend a STEM career seminar series and will participate in pursuing undergraduate research and STEM internship opportunities.  

Nov 22, 2017
Alexis Sauceda-Quintero (Life Sciences) was selected to give an oral presentation of his research at the recent 2017 annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Phoenix. An undergraduate researcher in the lab of Kelly Ai-Sun Tseng (Life Sciences), Sauceda-Quintero presented “Regrowing a Tail: Does Regeneration Catch up to Normal Size?” in which he described his findings on determining if natural tadpole tail regeneration resulted in a normal-sized appendage. He received a competitive ABRCMS Travel Award and a National Science Foundation Nevada EPSCoR Travel Award to attend the meeting. His research was supported in part by an EPSCoR summer research fellowship.  The Tseng lab studies limb and eye regeneration. Their work seeks to understand if there are common genes that can be manipulated to stimulate tissue regeneration in vertebrates. The long-term goal is to use this knowledge to develop applications for human therapies.

Nov 9, 2017
Donald Price (Life Sciences) is one of the authors of a research paper, "Mapping Genomic Scaffolds to Chromosomes Using Laser Capture Microdissection in Application to Hawaiian Picture-Winged Drosophila," that was published in Cytogenet Genome Research. His fellow authors are Lin Kang, Phillip George, Igor Sharakhov, and Pawel Michalak, all of Virginia Tech.        

Nov 7, 2017
School of Life Sciences associate professor and associate dean of the College of Sciences Javier A. Rodríguez was appointed Affiliated Researcher of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. “Affiliated Researcher” is an official designation conferred to a small number of investigators with strong ties to the museum, one of the best curated natural history museums in the country, and a leading institution in evolutionary research and in biodiversity and museum informatics.  

Oct 2, 2017
Lauren Galloway (Sociology), Jillian Socea (Life Sciences), Kimberly Stevens (Psychology), and Monia Kazemeini and Sogol Pirbastami (both Mechanical Engineering) have been chosen to receive the fall 2017 Southwest Travel Awards. Recipients of the awards receive a round-trip travel voucher from Southwest Airlines to allow them to travel to a conference or workshop related to their studies. Doctoral student Galloway will present at the Stardom, Fandom, and Celebrity Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Kazemeini, a doctoral student with a concentration in nuclear engineering, will present at the Waste Management Conference presented by WM Symposia in Phoenix. Doctoral student Pirbastami will present at the 2017 COMSOL Numerical Simulation Conference in Boston. Socea, a doctoral student in microbiology, will present at the Wind River Prokaryotic Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Stevens, a doctoral student in clinical psychology, will present at the International Conference for Eating Disorders in Chicago.

Sep 6, 2017
Laurel Raftery, Andrew Andres, Ai-Sun "Kelly" Tseng, and Boo Shan Tseng (all Life Sciences), and Hong Sun (Chemistry & Biochemistry), have been awarded a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant to purchase a multiphoton fluorescence imaging system titled "MRI: Acquisition of a High Speed Multiphoton Laser-Scanning Microscope for Research and Training at UNLV." Raftery is the principal investigator, while Andres, Sun, Tseng, and Tseng are co-principal investigators. Collaborators on the award are Nora Caberoy, Sophie Choe, Jeffery Shen, and Jenifer Utz (all Life Sciences), Rochelle Hines (Psychology), and Kwang Kim (Mechanical Engineering). The $998,614 microscope system will be installed in 2018, and operated on a first-come-first-served,  fee-for-service basis, through the UNLV confocal and biological imaging core. It will be Nevada's first multiphoton system for thick tissue (1mm) time-lapse imaging. This technology enables new discoveries in neurobiology, tissue formation, organ repair and whole-scale regeneration, and ion flux in biological tissues and in eletroactive polymer materials for engineering, and expands to other research areas through graduate student training and through recruitment of new faculty and other scientists to work at UNLV and other Southern Nevada technology centers.  

Jun 20, 2017
Forty undergraduates recently were awarded scholarships through the office of undergraduate research's summer undergraduate research funding (OUR SURF) program. These scholarships support undergraduate research, scholarship, entrepreneurial, performance, or visual art projects in the summer months. A total of $39,000 in funding was contributed by the following 11 colleges/programs: Allied Health Sciences Community Health Sciences CSUN Engineering Fine Arts Honors Liberal Arts Nursing OUR-UNLV Provost's office Sciences A full list of recipients is available online. To learn more about their projects, attend the Summer Undergraduate Research Forum on Aug. 9.  

May 17, 2017
Donald Price (Life Sciences) is one of the authors of a scientific article titled "A Test for Gene Flow among Sympatric and Allopatric Hawaiian Picture-Winged Drosophila"   that recently was published in the Journal of Molecular Evolution.